A few months ago Vogue Magazine released a story – a list of 10 things you don’t need for your modern wedding.
One of those things was a professional wedding photographer, which sounds ridiculous coming from Vogue. Seriously? Their whole business is very much relying on the work of professional photographers – yet, they’re saying one of the most important events of your life could do without. Here’s what Vogue said about professional wedding photographers in the original article:
Hiring a Professional Photographer
It made sense back in the olden days, pre–Facebook albums and Instagram hashtags, when the whole world didn’t have phones with cameras on them. Having the actual leather-bound album on your coffee table seemed like the only evidence that the whole thing actually took place. If social media is not your thing, why not scatter some disposable cameras around the party and let your drunken guests go to town? You’ll end up with hilarious and candid pictures without the pressure of “likes.”
And this is what Alex Cooke over at Fstoppers wrote about the subject.
The first half of the quote seems to make the claim that the only reason to have a wedding photographer is to have physical proof that the wedding happened, and now that social media and camera phones are ubiquitous, such physical proof is redundant and unnecessary. I’m not really sure I understand the angle here. Without speaking for every couple who has a wedding album on their coffee table, I would go so far as to say that the more likely explanation for possessing such a book is for the purposes of reminiscing and sharing of a happy event, not literal proof of the event’s occurrence. You’ll have other legal documentation if you really need to prove that it happened. If the point is sharing the event with friends and family who weren’t there, don’t you want them to experience the event at the same level of detail and quality that you did? We’ll get to that.
The second half of the quote seems to be implying that the only reason people get a professional photographer these days is to succumb to the social pressure of posting them online to receive affirmation. Frankly, if a couple is secure enough in their love to get married, I highly doubt they need it to be reaffirmed through Facebook likes. The author’s solution to this nonexistent problem is to “scatter some disposable cameras around the party and let your drunken guests go to town.” Sure, that’ll likely capture a few fun pictures at the reception. What about the ceremony? You know, the part where you actually get married? Will you be passing out disposable cameras and flasks to get the guests prepared to photograph that too?
Let me put my photographer suit back on. The most obvious argument for hiring a professional is having professional equipment and experience. I’m preaching to the choir a bit here, but weddings are really tough to photograph. They’re fast-paced, they demand technical and artistic prowess and efficiency, and they are notorious for offering terrible lighting conditions. Does your iPhone go to ISO 6,400 or sync a couple of off-cameras flashes? If your guests brought their DSLR, do they really know how to use it? You’re taking quite the gamble on getting even decipherable pictures. And really, 20 years down the road, when you’re showing your children or close friends what your wedding day was like, what do you think will convey the experience more adeptly: a blurry camera phone shot (by then, the quality from that camera phone will be horrendously outdated and likely tacky anyway), or a carefully crafted set of pictures that clearly, artistically, and unobtrusively capture a special day in its full elegance? Do you really want 200 guests clamoring and jostling over each other to get that shot anyway?